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Malabu Oil: Court orders arrest of Etete, two others

An FCT High Court sitting in Gwagralada, Abuja, Thursday, ordered the arrest of former Petroleum Minister, Dan Etete, Munamuna Seidouugha, and Joseph Amaran, who are the alleged owners of Malabu Oil, operational mining licence (OML 245).

This was sequel to an ex-parte motion filed by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), brought in pursuant to Section 3, 35, 36 and 37 of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act, 2015.

In granting the prayers of the EFCC, Justice Abubakar Idris Kutigi, said it was imperative to grant the order as prayed for the delivery of justice.

In an  8-paragragh affidavit, the EFCC  sought a warrant of arrest to be able to extradite  Etete and the two others.

In one of the prayers, the anti-graft agency   urged the court to grant it the warrant of arrest.

The commission held that the charges against the three suspects involves over $1.09bn Malabu Oil Block (OPL 245) Settlement Agreement.

The EFCC alleged that Etete, Seidougha, and Amaran (all at large) sometime in 2013, in Abuja, dishonestly used as genuine the forged form CAC 7 and Board Resolution of Malabu Oil and Gas Limited and the letter of resignation of one Mohammed Sani, which they then knew to be forged documents, to open a bank account No. 2018288005 to receive $401,540,000.00 .

The commission also alleged that Seidougha, Amaran and (Dauzia Loya) Etete, sometime in 2013, in Abuja, “dishonestly used as genuine the forged form CAC 7 and Board Resolution of Malabu Oil and Gas Limited and the letter of resignation of one Mohammed Sani, which they then knew to be forged, documents to open a Bank Account No. 3610042472 to receive $400,540,000.00 (Four Hundred Thousand United States Dollars).

According to an ex-parte application by the EFCC counsel,  Bala Sanga, the suspects have been residing in France and in some Africa countries.

EFCC also said the suspects were occasionally sighted in different parts of Europe.

The anti-graft agency prayed the court to issue a warrant of arrest, which is a pre-condition for the extradition of the suspects.

An affidavit sworn to by an Investigating Officer, Ibrahim Ahmed, said Etete and others are wanted because they are part of the brains behind Malabu Oil and Gas Limited.

The document read: “That I know as a fact and I verily believe that the investigation of the Malabu Oil and Gas: Limited matter disclosed a prima facie commission of offence by the respondents among others.

“That I know as a fact which I verily believe that our investigation has revealed the following:

“The respondents (mentioned in counts 14, 15, 16, 17 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33, 34, 35, 36, 37, 38, 39, 40, 41, and 421 of Charge No: CR/151/2020 and indicated to be at large) are still at large and intelligence report indicates that they reside in France and occasionally in some other countries.

“That the respondents are part of the brains behind Malabu Oil and Gas Limited.

“That Malabu Oil and Gas Limited are defendants in the current Charge No: CR/151/2020 and facing multiple counts of charges for forgery and use of forged documents.

“That as part of the directing minds of Malabu Oil and Gas Limited, they should stand trial and answer to charges of influencing and aiding the companies to breach extant criminal laws.

“That I was informed by the Prosecuting Counsel, Bala Sanga on the 21st day of January, 2020 that part of the requirements for the arrest and extradition of the respondents from Europe or indeed from any part of the world is the issuance of a warrant of arrest by this Honourable Court. That it will serve the interest of justice to grant this application,” the affidavit read in part.

In his ruling, Justice Kutigi granted the order as prayed.

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